Depending on what industry you’re in, or where you’re located in the country, you may be facing different challenges when it comes to helping your business push back against the effects of covid-19.
Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in March. It’s the first WHO-declared pandemic since H1N1 in 2009.
As a result, many states around the country imposed shutdowns of non-essential businesses, and they asked people to social distance and stay home as much as possible. There was also guidance at the federal level, including a stay-at-home advisory that expired on April 30.
A lot of states are now shifting into phases of reopening, which means most businesses can start opening even if they were forced to close.
While business owners are undoubtedly relieved because of what a trying time this has been not just emotionally but financially, it doesn’t mean challenges are over.
There is still a sense of fear and apprehension among many consumers. They’re unsure if they’re ready to venture out quite yet, and that could especially impact service industries such as restaurants, as well as retailers.
Businesses need to tailor their marketing to reflect the world we’re in right now, and that may mean it looks very different from how you marketed just a few months ago.
The following are some marketing tips that all businesses of any size might find useful as they navigate an unprecedented situation.
A lot of people, even if they are in states where restrictions are lifting, are still spending much of their time at home and potentially even alone. There is a sense of uncertainty, and no one knows what the future is going to hold.
With that in mind, strive to facilitate a sense of connection with your audience.
Communicate often about not just what your business is expecting and doing, but about things relevant to your community in general.
Update people not just on your reopening timeline, but also what you’re doing differently.
It’s a really good way to keep people in the loop as far as your products and services and also build a relationship that has the potential to be long-term.
There are a lot of ways you can connect with people, and the choices that work for you may depend on your targeted audience.
For example, maybe you connect through frequent social media updates, or perhaps you hold regular live sessions on social media where you’re actually speaking to people.
When you’re connecting with people, make sure that you’re emphasizing the steps you’re taking to keep them safe, and also to keep your employees safe. Now is a time when social responsibility is incredibly important in marketing.
Right now, there is probably not anyone in the country or maybe even the world that isn’t feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Whether they’ve lost someone or been sick, had to close their business, or lost their job, the effects are massive.
At the same time, people have pulled together and have been very selfless through all of this as well, and you want to share in that spirit of selflessness through your business.
Try to identify ways, or even just one way that your business can give back to your community and make that part of your marketing.
For example, if you’re a restaurant, donate meals to a local hospital for frontline workers, or maybe work at a food bank in your community.
Right now, as hard as things may be, is a good time to share your company values with the public as part of your marketing. When you give back, you need to be genuine and do it in a way that’s in-line with your brand.
Rethink What People Are Most Interested In
Now may present an opportunity to restructure or shift your business in some way, which could be temporary or permanent.
If you have a retail shop, maybe you focus on selling face coverings, or if you’re a restaurant, maybe you think about selling meal kits that people can make at home.
When you start to uncover what people are interested in, then you can work to promote your business through the best channels. You may find that you need an extra set of resources to ensure you are capturing the imagination of people right now. It is important to find out more what you can achieve, especially when working with a marketing agency. Taking the chance to shift perspective doesn’t come often, which is why it’s important to use this moment wisely and sensitively.
Get creative and innovative because the demand for certain products and services may not be the same as it was in February.
Give Paid Ads a Try
Whether or not you’ve ever used a paid ads agency, now could be a good time to dive in because they’re very inexpensive relatively speaking. Paid ads are any kind of advertising that you must pay for as opposed to owning or earning advertisements. If you are using a paid ad, you have to pay the owner of the ad space and in exchange, you get to use that ad space. Advertisement prices vary because they are typically settled through a bidding war between a pool of other marketers and the ad space owner.
Small businesses are typically what paid ad platforms rely on for revenue, and small businesses can drive up the cost per click for ads, meaning that big companies have to pay more. Now that small businesses may not be advertising as much, it means it can be an affordable time to try it out.
Create New Financial Options
Even with the federal stimulus and expanded unemployment benefits, most consumers are feeling a sense of financial strain.
Boost your marketing by letting them know you’re offering flexible payment options if that’s something that will work for your business.
Review Your Language and Imagery
Something that just a few months ago might have worked in your marketing may now be a message you don’t want to convey. For example, if you have images of people who are close to one another without face coverings, perhaps swap those out for people who are social distancing.
You also want to think about the language you use in your marketing and how it works now. Working together, for example, is one phrase that is often used in marketing, but right now could make your content or advertising seem outdated.
Don’t Come Off As Using the Crisis To Your Benefit
You want people to know, with your marketing, that you’re cognizant a crisis is happening and that you’re taking the necessary steps, but you don’t want to be someone who comes off as too dramatic or a business that tries to incite panic.
If you’re discussing things about the actual pandemic, try to use a neutral tone, although an empathetic one.
You do need to realize as well that this is a time when emotions are very heightened. People feel strongly about social distancing and even the economic ramifications, so try not to wade into these topics in a way that could be offensive or create anger.